Column: Huskies need to stick together
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 00:09
What do you say after a game like Saturday’s?
What do you say after a game where the Huskies played such great defense all game? Heck, until the very end of the game, after Chandler Whitmer had been sacked for what felt like the 58th time (but was only the third) on a fourth down with the game on the line, the defense was unrelenting. There was literally nothing but pride on the line and the defense was in beast mode.
It was an amazing sight to behold. It truly was. The UConn defense was all over the field, playing like this would be its last game. Linebacker Yawin Smallwood had 14 tackles and defensive end Jesse Joseph had eight of his own including a sack.
Sio Moore knows it, too. He knows the Huskies’ defense wasn’t just an apparition that appeared against a weak opponent during the UMass game last Thursday night.
“We’re a good defense,” Moore said after the game. “It doesn’t matter the opponent or who we play or what the scenario or situation is. We’re a good defense. We’ve built that into what we do and how we do it.”
But on one play, a cornerback was caught out of position. On one play, the pass rusher didn’t get to the passer soon enough. On one play, the safety didn’t get over fast enough.
On another play, a 3rd down and 15 no less, the Huskies got a little bit sloppy and, to give credit to the Wolfpack, they made the Huskies pay for it with a 46-yard touchdown, making the game 10-0 with 8:34 to go in the third quarter.
At that point, the game was over. It really was. I don’t think there was a single person in Rentschler Field actively watching that game, who didn’t actually play for the Huskies, who thought UConn was capable of scoring more than 10 points for the rest of that game.
In the fourth quarter, UConn made a small comeback after a dumped off pass to Lyle McCombs, who took the ball 43 yards up the field and then McCombs ran into the endzone.
Whoopee, it was 10-7, but nobody wanted to get back into the game, if they’re willing to be honest. Why would anyone have had reason to believe that UConn had a chance at winning? All the Huskies had done for the past three quarters had trained us to believe that the offense couldn’t get it done.
The entire game was one step forward, two steps back. My gosh, was it brutal to watch.
Afterward, Pasqualoni was confused and aggravated by the way the offense played.
“It seemed like every time we got going, something happened,” Pasqualoni said. “It was just so frustrating not to be able to get things going.”
As a fan, it’s easy to point fingers. It’s so easy to blame the offense and say, “Put in McEntee!” or “mix up the offensive line!” It’s even easy to peg the blame on the corner that got burnt deep, on the safety that didn’t help out as quickly as he could have, or on the pass rusher that wasn’t a split second sooner in his pursuit.
UConn players can’t do that, though.
This team needs to stay together, despite the offensive woes. After the game, Ryan Wirth was spot on in his analysis of the way the game played out.
“It wasn’t all the offense,” the defensive end said after the game. “We had a couple of plays that if you take those away, that’s zero points let up. As a team, we’re going to go back to the drawing board, patch it up and we’re going to come back and get a W.
Wirth was asked if the Huskies still believed in themselves.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s what? Two games?”
So what do you say after a game like that? Nothing. You go back, you work your tail off in practice and get back to work.
After all, it would be pretty sweet to go into College Park, Maryland and prove to a Mr. Randy Edsall that he didn’t know what he had ‘till it’s gone.
It shouldn’t be too difficult for some of these seniors to be motivated for that game, now should it?
That last sentence expressed Wirth’s sentiment, not mine. Just saying.
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